Gwent fighters Cleverly and Lockett lead tributes to legendary matchmaker Dean Powell
NATHAN Cleverly has led the tributes to legendary boxing figure Dean Powell, who died suddenly on Tuesday.
The 46-year old was one of British boxing’s most recognisable faces, a trainer, cornerman and matchmaker held in the highest regard.
Powell, who had a reputation as the best ‘hand wrapper’ in British boxing, worked with Enzo and Joe Calzaghe and has been a constant in Cleverly’s corner ever since he turned professional.
Dudley-born Powell worked with all the leading promoters, including Micky Duff and Terry Lawless and in association with the great Jimmy Tibbs helped shape the career of Nigel Benn.
Powell would later work closely with Lennox Lewis at his Lion Promotions company, featuring in the world heavyweight champion's corner for a number of his title defences.
After the death of another great, Ernie Fossey, Powell became a permanent and indispensable member of Frank Warren's promotional organisation.
In his various roles as cornerman, trainer and most recently match-maker, Powell enhanced his reputation as a fair and thorough exponent of his art. That Warren is renowned for barely putting a foot wrong in plotting paths for his fighters is largely down to Powell's exceptional judgement.
For Cleverly, who has confirmed to the Argus he does intend to fight on after losing his world title, the loss of Powell is almost too upsetting to speak of.
“I have known Dean since I turned professional, both as a matchmaker and working in my corner,” an emotional Cleverly told the Argus.
“His knowledge for boxing, his passion for the sport, it unrivalled and his advice has been invaluable to me over the years, as much as anyone in the sport.
“He wrapped my hands before every fight and he’s a huge influence on my father, Dean and I talked regularly on the phone but dad spoke with him virtually every day.
“He’s a huge loss to boxing, to Frank Warren and his team, but for dad and myself, it’s very devastating news.”
Cwmbran’s boxer-turned-trainer and manager Gary Lockett added to Cleverly’s sentiments.
“We all loved to have a moan about Dean, myself included, because he was the main admin man for Frank Warren, I’ve had more ups and down with him than I can recall,” he said.
“But whoever you were, whatever your relationship was with Dean, he was a friend first and colleague second, he just had that way about him.
“I worked with Dean as a fighter and now have done so as a trainer and a manager and he’s been a huge, huge influence on me.
“I’m absolutely devastated by his loss; it’s a terribly sad day for boxing.”
Both Joe and Enzo Calzaghe also paid tribute to their friend.
“I’ve just heard the news about Dean Powell and I’m in total shock at the loss of my former cornerman, It’s hard to believe it. I’m just lost for words. He was one of those good guys, so harmless and straight.
“He’s going to be very missed by us all as a person and a match maker and I for sure will never forget him, God bless him and I hope he rests in peace.”
Joe commented: “Shocked and saddened to hear the news of Dean Powell. He was in my corner for many of my big fights. RIP Dean.”
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